Sometimes you plan, and sometimes you get lucky. When we asked Jeffrey Toobin, the lawyer turned New Yorker writer and CNN senior legal analyst, to be a guest on this show, we had no idea that his time with us, during a long-planned trip to Austin, would coincide precisely with what can only be regarded as seismic news in his world: President Obama’s nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retiring Justice David Souter on the United States Supreme Court. It is Toobin, after all, who, among all commentators in all mediums, is the acknowleged expert on the Supremes, having written a best-selling book on the High Court, The Nine, and any number of articles for magazines over the years on the personalities and issues at play there – most recently a profile of Chief Justice John Roberts for The New Yorker. Born in New York, the son of pioneering journalist Marlene Sanders, 49-year-old Toobin is a graduate of both Harvard College, where he was a sportswriter for The Crimson, and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Law Review. He was an associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh during the Iran-Contra investigation and then an assistant U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn before hopping the fence and entering the world of punditry – as TV’s first legal analyst, on ABC, beginning in the mid-nineties. He has written four other books – one on the O.J. Simpson trial, another on the disputed 2000 presidential election – and he won an Emmy for his coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case, but if there’s any subject he is most closely associated with, it’s the one we may know the least about – which is why it’s appropriate that the subtitle of The Nine is Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court. If ever we needed a guide to show us how the place works, and how one gets to wear, for life, one of those famous black robes, it’s now.
- Evan Smith, Texas Monthly Talks host